Well, here it is, world's one of the most famous, cussed & discussed blade :). Busse combat series, the Battle Mistress, heavy duty field knife. I don't have much to say so far, besides there's plethora of the information regarding this knife, just check the www.bladeforums.com or practically any other knife forum or survival web site. There will be lots of information, discussions & reviews on this knife.
General- One of the most interesting thing about this knife & most discussed (& cussed too sometimes) is the INFI steel. So far it's Busse proprietary (a secret too) & stands out for its incredible characteristics, including strength, toughness and the edge retention. It isn't very high on Carbon, leaves many high carbon competitors faaaaar behind.
Another interesting detail, that distinguishes this knife (and all other Busse knives) from others is the edge grind. So called asymmetrical edge. Basically the right side is convex grind & the left side is flat or V grind. Therefore it's sort of different to sharpen, but once you understand what are you supposed to do, it's easier than other grind types, gets razor sharp real quick & importantly, this grind is stronger than the standard V grind. There were many discussions dedicated to the problem - how to sharpen Busse semi-convex knives on the Bladeforums.com. Just do the search & you'll get all the information you need.
Blade- When you first see this knife you realize what Jerry Busse meant, when talking about Nuclear Tough knives. Besides being a large blade (9.5 inches long) it's quite wide, very thick(.25 inch thick in stock) & heavy. It's a good chopper, well for a knife it's an excellent chopper & can hold it's edge for a very long time even when used real hard.
Recently I've conducted some chopping tests using my BM. I've chopped a fair amount of frozen bones, ribs to be more exact ;). Granted that this is very abusive task for a knife, BM performed amazingly well. In general I was able to chop through the bone with 1 swing, except1 the one case when I hit the board with the blade tip, so the blade got stuck in the bone closer to it's center. BTW that's when I've dented the blade, when twisting it sideways to pull it out of the bone where it was stuck. Obviously it was a mistake, applying a lateral force in that situation.
INFI- For a long time INFI formula was a secret. Apparently due to laziness of the labs :) And another factor is that just the formula doesn't make a great steel. There's more involved and on top of that, heat treatment is proprietary too. Later, somewhere in 2004-2006 one German lab did the analysis and the exact composition they published was as following: C 0.5, Va 0.36, Cr 8.25, Co 0.95, Ni 0.74, Mo 1.3, N 0.11. As you can see besides the usual steel enhancers like Mo, Va, Co, INFI contains Nitrogen. It's kindda unusual, but works very well. 8% of Chromium also explains INFI stain resistance. The rest is still a mistery. With pretty much ordinary steel components getting this such a high performance.
Handle- My first Battle mistress has the old style, straight handle, newer versions marked as E, have more curved, ergonomic handles, should be much more convenient for heavy duty works like chopping. Well, after getting my Battle Mistress Fighter Variant I can only confirm that. The new, eHandles are much more comfortable and does increase overall performance, in particular chopping. You can check them out at Busse combat website.
Despite of its price tag 347$ US, the Battle Mistress is real hard to get, waiting list is few months, though you may get lucky sometimes ;) I'm really glad I got one ;) Not that I've ever had lots of heavy duty knife work, just it's really interesting & different blade. IMHO it's worth the price & may be more. I'd highly recommend to read Cliff Stamp's article Busse Battle Mistress. A very interesting one, lots of tests & practical information, basically that's the one that really helped my decision to buy my very first Busse blade.
- Model - Battle Mistress;
- Blade - 228.60mm(9")
- Thickness - 6.35mm
- Width - 44.55mm
- OAL - 368.30mm(14.5")
- Steel - INFI steel at 58-60HRC
- Handle - Micarta
- Weight - 604.60g(20.44oz)
- Acquired - 06/2000 Price - 347.00$
- Warranty - Unconditional Lifetime;
Last updated - 09/01/11